Pegstar Concerts does it again.
Houston had a visit last Saturday night from Australian electronic artist and singer-songwriter, Alex Cameron and Canada’s indie-pop band, Islands. White Oak Music Hall served as the setting and host for the acts and the multitude of delighted fans who spent the evening dancing with total abandon in what turned out to be one hell of a party and good feelings all around.
As the house lights faded out, bright orange lights illuminated the stage and Alex Cameron began the evening’s entertainment along with musical partner and saxophonist Roy Molloy. This was the first time I had heard Alex Cameron and man, am I glad I got assigned to cover this show! Alex is an impressive artist who channels Bowie like none other I have seen before (something which he seemed genuinely surprised to hear when I asked him about it after the show). His act consists of a backing track, Roy Molloy on the saxophone and himself, singing with a deep voice and dancing within his own world. Each song of his set punctuates his odd personality and character, starting from the moment he introduces each tune with spoken preludes that are hilariously funny but told with the most serious and straight face. As the song progresses, he bursts into sudden movements that remind me of a Twyla Tharp choreography. Roy sits on a chair next to him, staring out into the audience, still as a stone until he suddenly lifts his saxophone and plays beautiful sax solos over the prerecorded tracks.
Alex performed a 50 minute set that kept the audience deeply interested and entertained. During this time, I saw an artist who is genuine, who is interesting enough to not have to create a stage persona or a character to fulfill a whim, but instead is exactly who he is on stage and off. If you have not heard him before, the song “She’s Mine” is a great introduction. If you like the musical genius of artists like David Bowie, Lou Reed and Nick Cave, do yourself a favor and check out Alex Cameron. You will thank me for it.
Following Alex Cameron’s show was the indie-pop, wholesome goodness of Islands.
Islands hails from Montreal, Canada (although they are now set up in Los Angeles, California) and on this tour they are promoting not one, but two album releases. Instead of creating a double album, Islands recently released “Should I Remain here, At Sea?” and “Taste” on the same day. Singer Nick Thorburn plays a striking white Eastwood Airline guitar through which he produces plenty of minor sevenths in the true “Beatle-esque” fashion which has characterized much of Island’s sound in their ten years of existence. A serious performer, he sings with a high pitched and whispery voice backed by the impeccable harmonies of the remaining band members. He is flanked on either side by keyboardists (and occasional guitarists and bassists) Evan Gordon and Geordie Gordon; both brilliant musicians who rarely lose their deep concentration wholly directed to their instruments and the music they are making. Drummer, Adam Halferty sits behind his kit, sadly for the camera, covered in thick stage fog but still a notable presence in the total sound of this tight and precise band. Although mostly known for that Microsoft Surface Tablet song “Hallways” (which is a very cool song, by the way) they also performed recognizable greats such as the guitar rock songs “Creeper” and “Back into It” and the more electronic sounds of “No Milk, No Sugar” and “Charm Offensive”. Finally, they ended their set with the rock-star-who-wants-to-just-go-home-song, “Can’t Feel My Face” which everyone really got a kick out of, including me. These guys know how to perform to their audience. So much so that when Islands stepped off the stage, the crowd remained, loudly demanding an encore. Islands then came back out and pleased the audience with the dreamy and fun sounds of “Rough Gem”.
As the evening came to an end, people lingered, talking excitedly about the show. I paid my beer tab and headed out to the parking lot surrounded by the exclamations of others praising the production and the performers. Walking back to my car with the rest of the concert goers, I felt lighter on my feet somehow. The positive vibes of this show lingered long after the show was over and as I looked around me, I noticed that everyone else walking to their own cars were wearing the same silly smile I was. One single word came into my mind at that moment: “Yes”.
This was a fun show. See you at the next one!